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October 19, 2012

Title: Collective Learning

Speaker: Noam Miller, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University

Abstract: Animals that live in groups, including humans, also learn in groups and their learning (and other cognitive functions) are affected by interactions between individuals within the group. For example, consensus decision-making, which is common in many group-living species, requires that some individuals repress their own 'opinions' in order to remain with the group, which has an effect on their future learning and preferences. I will present a model of how individual learning occurs with the context of a group and experimental data that show how groups integrate different information held by their members. Models and studies of learning have focused almost exclusively on solitary individuals and studies of collective motion have mostly ignored learning. By integrating these two approaches, we reveal novel and fundamental dynamics of collective learning